Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, defended his boss’ hideous race-baiting attack on civil rights icon John Lewis by blaming Lewis for having “start[ed] the game off” by calling Trump’s election “illegitimate.” Fox host Howard Kurtz was little more than a patsy for Spicer’s spin of Trump’s very unpresidential, dishonest and mean-spirited behavior.
First, Spicer got a pass for laughably claiming he demands respect for any president
Before they got to Lewis, Kurtz and Spicer discussed Trump’s press conference last week. Or, I should say Kurtz gave Spicer a nice chunk of friendly air time to justify Trump’s attack on CNN reporter Jim Acosta for aggressively trying to ask a question at Trump’s press conference last week.
Spicer called Acosta “rude and inappropriate and disrespectful.” He also claimed Acosta owes an apology to Trump and to Mara Liasson whom Trump called on when Acosta tried to get his own question answered. Liasson just happens to be a Fox News contributor.
SPICER: Look, this is something I would be arguing the same, whether it was a Republican or Democrat, Barack Obama or Bill Clinton. You do not treat the president elect or any major figure in that way. It’s childish and disrespectful.
But, of course, Spicer had no problem with Trump’s years of bogus suggestions that Obama was an illegitimate president born in Africa – long after it had already been proven otherwise.
Somehow that point either escaped Kurtz or else he deliberately chose not to mention that shocking hypocrisy.
Speaking of disrespect for a major figure… Spicer was perfectly happy with Trump's attack on John Lewis
Kurtz brought up the subject of Lewis by suggesting his remarks were some kind of liberal cabal to discredit Trump:
KURTZ: When Democratic Congressman John Lewis, a hero of the civil rights movement, told Chuck Todd that he’s not considered Donald Trump to be a legitimate president, won’t be attending the inauguration - because of Russian interference in the election, says Congressman Lewis - this was initially ignored by much of the media but embraced by such MSNBC anchors as Lawrence O’Donnell and Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes and liberal sites like Slate. Your reaction.
SPICER: Well, look, I think John Lewis is an icon in the civil rights and voting rights movement. He has spent years tirelessly advocating for people to be enfranchised and to vote.
In other words, a “major figure,” eh?
But there was no respect for Lewis in Trump’s tweets about him. The president-elect who started his career being sued for racial discrimination had the nerve to accuse Lewis of being “All talk, talk, talk - no action or results.”
Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2017
mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk - no action or results. Sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2017
Congressman John Lewis should finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities of the U.S. I can use all the help I can get!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 15, 2017
Spicer continued by suggesting that Trump has some kind of mandate. And Kurtz allowed Spicer to “forget” that Hillary Clinton overwhelmingly won the popular vote and that our intelligence community has raised serious questions about Russia’s interference in our election – to which Trump has responded like a guilty person.
SPICER: And so it’s disappointing when someone who has worked so hard to talk about voting rights, to get people to participate in election and to talk about the integrity of our voting systems then turns around after an election which Donald Trump won with 306 Electoral, 33 of 50 states, 9 of 13 battleground states, 2600 counties, and talk about the election being illegitimate. That undermines our voting system and it’s ironic and disappointing that somebody who is such an icon in the voting and civil rights movement would choose to use words like that.
Really? I remember Trump whining endlessly during the campaign about the election being “rigged” (see second video below). But Kurtz didn’t bring that up either. Instead, he nodded in agreement as Spicer spoke.
However, Kurtz did mention Trump’s tweets (sans mention of Trump’s own racist history) and noted that the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza had pointed out that Trump had started the Martin Luther King holiday weekend by attacking “one of the great heroes of the civil rights movement.”
Oh, that was Lewis’ fault, according to Spicer. Again, there was almost no challenge from Kurtz
SPICER: Well, Ryan Lizza might want to start with how this went down. Congressman Lewis as you noted, went on Chuck Todd’s show and said that the president was illegitimate. Somehow, no one seems to remember the first inning and say this is what happened to start the game off. But it was John Lewis that attacked Donald Trump. Donald Trump has a right to respond to that and he did and forcefully.
KURTZ: We can debate whether he responded too harshly or not.
SPICER: But that’s beside the point. I think you see these reporters forget how the whole event started. It was John Lewis that chose to attack a president that was duly elected and seeks to question the legitimacy of the election that occurred on November 8th.
Kurtz changed the subject.
Watch Spicer’s childish, hypocritical defense of Trump below from the January 15, 2017 MediaBuzz. Underneath that is a mashup video of Trump talking about the “rigged election” during the campaign, via Politico.